It is no secret that family law courts are often biased against men, especially when it comes to child custody. Slowly but surely, there is starting to be a shift in the system. Florida family courts are recognizing the importance of fathers being involved with their children. Men are even being awarded alimony more than ever before. Regardless of this reassuring shift, a bias is still present and many men find themselves in what seems like an uphill battle with their cases. If you are going through a divorce or custody battle, it is important to know your rights and develop the best strategies for your situation.
Choose the Right Lawyer
This seems like it should be common sense, but many men wind up losing in the courtroom because they picked the wrong lawyer. The possibility of getting an old-fashioned judge means that it is important for men to pick a divorce or child custody attorney who knows how to effectively advocate for men. Choosing a men-only family law attorney may give you the edge you need to win your case.
Pursue Child Custody
One of the main complaints fathers have after their divorces are settled is they do not see their children enough. Men often settle for less time with their children than they would like under the mistaken belief that judges are likely to award primary custody to the mother. However, that simply is not accurate anymore. When men pursue it, Florida judges often award joint child custody. If your ex-wife is not providing a stable home for the children, you may even get primary custody. Family law has evolved to place value on successful co-parenting and encouraging both parents to be as involved in their children's lives as possible.
Stay Involved in Your Children’s Lives
While it is important to respect the needs of your children’s’ mother, which may mean adjusting to not being around your children daily, it is also necessary to maintain a presence in their lives. For example, if a divorce drags out and your ex-wife can truthfully say that you have not seen your children in months, it will be difficult for you to argue for child custody. You do not want to give the court any reason to believe you are uninterested in your children or their wellbeing. Continuing to give them both emotional and financial support is imperative during this time.
If you are the custodial parent during a separation or divorce, it is critical that you do not restrict your ex-wife from visiting the children. Unfairly restricting her access without a court order will only hurt you in your divorce proceedings. You should strive for amicable co-parenting and joint responsibility. If you are struggling to work out the details, your divorce lawyer can help you find a mediator to work out a plan. The best action you can take is to demonstrate that your children's well being is the most important matter to you and that you support their relationship with their mother.
Avoid Lashing Out During a Divorce
If your divorce has turned acrimonious, do not lash out on your ex-wife. If she is behaving irrationally or angrily, all you can do is refuse to engage. Again, if you are experiencing this situation, consider talking to your lawyer about getting a mediator to help you communicate with her.
At all costs necessary, avoid participating in any petty or vengeful behaviors. This can easily be spun into evidence of instability, even if you feel you were pushed to it. Instead, disengage and document her behavior. If you can show that she is the irrational one and you have behaved calmly and responsibly, it will only help you in your divorce proceedings.
Seek Alimony If You Need It
If you find you are entitled to alimony, do not be afraid to pursue it. In the past, alimony was primarily awarded to women because women often had no income of their own or made substantially less than their husbands. In today's modern marriages, it is not uncommon for the wife to make more than the husband. If your divorce will be putting you in financial distress and your wife can give you aid, be sure to pursue that option.
Don't Be Afraid to Appeal
If you believe you were treated unfairly in your initial divorce or custody proceedings, you usually will have the right to appeal. Mistakes are made sometimes and you may be entitled to more than you think. Consult your lawyer and ask them to review your case to see if you have grounds for an appeal.
Although there are many reasons why men lose in family court, knowing your rights and having the right advocates can make all the difference. Contact us to learn how we can fight for you in your next family law dispute.